Salt Lake City-based artists Derek Ballard and Brighton Cooper Ballard have come together this month to collaborate on their first action based art project - DISARM: The Systems of Oppression. Opening Friday, August 3rd at Urban Arts Gallery, their two person show will focus on stirring emotion in the viewer to support the disarming and rejecting of all systems of oppression, covering topics from immigration and border control to police brutality and the prison industrial complex.
From the artists: "The work we are creating for DISARM is intended to be thought-provoking, visceral, and representative of the ways in which these systems of oppression have become relied upon as the status quo. We hope to create art that speaks in ways we cannot, to use art and creativity as a method for expression and action, and to act as a conduit for support of communities in need."
Proceeds from DISARM will be donated to Movimiento Cosecha, a nationwide grassroots organization supporting direct action and community activism. Cosecha’s vision and strategy for accomplishing revolutionary action align closely with the artists' ideals. In order to make concrete steps, you must go beyond conversation, although open discourse the free press have immense value in creating positive momentum.
From the artists: "We recognize our privilege as white (and white-passing) adults with a middle-class background, and recognize that we do not have all the answers, nor should our voices take place of those who experience oppression daily. Our intention in using this art show to support Cosecha and other local organizations is to point to the work being done under the radar of the mainstream media, to spark radical action in those who otherwise might feel unqualified to participate, and to join together the quiet multitude of people working in different movements as one united front."
In addition to the individual works created by the artists, the exhibition will feature an interactive 3’x4’ mural depicting several women amidst a raised fist, emblazoned with the word UNITE. This mural will be covered by a wall of loose bricks, painted with the names of dozens of individuals killed by border patrol, left to die in detention, or exposed to the elements in attempting to migrate. For a donation of $10 or more, gallery attendees will remove a brick, freeing the mural below by dismantling the wall.
DISARM opens Friday, August 3rd at Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City.